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Winrock Standard Operating Procedures for Terrestrial Carbon Measurement

Standard Operating Procedures for Terrestrial Carbon Measurement Field Manual

08 July 2014

The active and important role vegetation and soil play in the global carbon cycle and global climate change is now internationally recognized. Vegetation and soil can act as both a net source and a net sink of greenhouse gas (GHG), depending on how the land is managed. Alterations in land use management techniques that result in changes to net GHG emissions are now a significant component to the regulatory and voluntary actions taking place globally to combat climate change.

The purpose of this document is to provide standard field measurement approaches to assist in quantifying the amount of carbon stored within the various organic pools found within a landscape. The methods presented in each Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) have been developed over time by foresters and ecologists to accurately and efficiently estimate carbon stocks.

The SOPs are grouped by purpose. The first set of SOPs are general and can be used for many field measurement goals. A set of SOPs are also presented on the measurement of all the carbon pools. These can be used to estimate the standing stock of a carbon pool within a stratum. Another set of SOPs are presented to estimate the emissions resulting from selective logging. Various SOPs are also presented on estimating canopy cover. These SOPs should only be used when the purpose of data collection is known.

This manual does not specify guidance on stratification, sampling design, sampling intensity, the spatial distribution of sampling points, pool measurement selection, or the methods needed to transform field measurement data into carbon stock estimates. Therefore, additional guidance is required prior to any field data collection.